Alexander Graham Bell : biography
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone.
Bell’s father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell’s life’s work.Bruce 1990, p. 419. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first US patent for the telephone in 1876. In retrospect, Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.MacLeod 1999, p. 19.
Many other inventions marked Bell’s later life, including groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. In 1888, Bell became one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society. nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved: July 28, 2010. He has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.Hart 2000, p. 222.
Legacy and honors
Honors and tributes flowed to Bell in increasing numbers as his most famous invention became ubiquitous and his personal fame grew. Bell received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, to the point that the requests almost became burdensome."Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers." Library of Congress. During his life he also received dozens of major awards, medals and other tributes. These included statuary monuments to both him and the new form of communication his telephone created, notably the Bell Telephone Memorial erected in his honor in Alexander Graham Bell Gardens in Brantford, Ontario, in 1917.Osborne, Harold S. National Academy of Sciences: Biographical Memoirs, Vol. XXIII, 1847–1922, presented to the Academy at its 1943 annual meeting.
A large number of Bell’s writings, personal correspondence, notebooks, papers and other documents Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved: February 14, 2012. reside at both the United States Library of Congress Manuscript Division (as the Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers), and at the Alexander Graham Bell Institute, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia; major portions of which are available for online viewing.
A number of historic sites and other marks commemorate Bell in North America and Europe, including the first telephone companies of the United States and Canada. Among the major sites are:
- The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, maintained by Parks Canada, which incorporates the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, close to the Bell estate Beinn Bhreagh Parks Canada. Retrieved: February 14, 2012.
- The Bell Homestead National Historic Site, includes the Bell family home, "Melville House", and farm overlooking Brantford, Ontario and the Grand River. It was their first home in North America;
- Canada’s first telephone company building, the "Henderson Home" of the late 1870s, a predecessor of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada (officially chartered in 1880). In 1969 the building was carefully moved to the historic Bell Homestead National Historic Site in Brantford, Ontario and was refurbished to become a telephone museum. The Bell Homestead, the Henderson Home telephone museum, and the National Historic Site’s reception centre are all maintained by the Bell Homestead Society;, Bell Homestead Society. Retrieved: February 14, 2012.
- The Alexander Graham Bell Memorial Park, which features a broad neoclassical monument built in 1917 by public subscription. The monument graphically depicts mankind’s ability to span the globe through telecommunications; maps.google.com. Retrieved: February 14, 2012.
- The Alexander Graham Bell Museum (opened in 1956), part of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site which was completed in 1978 in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Many of the museum’s artifacts were donated by Bell’s daughters;